As I approach my 50th birthday in March my only regret is that I have not spent more time studying, reading and praying God’s Word. For years I would be frustrated with my seeming inability to make this happen.
Each new year I would sharpen my pencil, find a spot, buy a book and set a goal that would quickly fade in the frozen days of February. I would earnestly pray, “God please give me an unquenchable thirst for your Word.” This prayer seemed unanswered for years. Discouraged, I would quit praying this prayer for a while and then, eventually, start the whole cycle all over again.
The irony in all this is that for much of my adult life (the last 25 or so years) I have been involved in Bible Study consistently - first as a participant and then as a leader. This has been a great experience filled with great books/studies and amazing women with whom I have found friendship, accountability and support.
But too often these studies were someone else’s opinion/interpretation of what they thought the Bible said. It made my study of the Bible disjointed as we jumped from book to book and story to story pulling a verse here and a chapter there.
There are lots of great resources and lots of great authors/scholars that can to add to our study of the Bible. But, in addition, we need to make sure that we are digging into the Bible ourselves on a daily basis as well.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” How can I be thoroughly equipped for every good work if I am not reading and studying scripture?
The turning point for me 3 years ago was getting rid of all the study guides and devotionals and just focusing on the Bible. I had to literally go from my bed in the morning directly to the desk where I study to make it happen each day. If I check my phone or get on email it is not going to happen as the day’s demands crowd my meeting with God away.
I can tell you that without exception, the days when that happens, I feel the loss of not starting the day with God and it colors everything that happens afterwards. I can also tell you that it was not until I started reading his Word each day that I developed the “unquenchable thirst” for his Word that I prayed for off and on for years.
I started by reading a Psalm and a Proverb each day. I used an NIV Study Bible and a blank notebook to write down verses, thoughts and information from the study notes. From there I moved through the New Testament and then the Old Testament.
I start each day (and am going to end this blog) by praying scripture before I read my Bible. I desire to do your will, O my God; help me to place your law within my heart. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. Amen. Psalm 40:8, Psalm 25:5, Psalm 119:27, Psalm 119:18